Carmel Bach Festival Announces 2020 Season

Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. – The Carmel Bach Festival presents its 83rd season, July 18 – August 1, 2020 in venues throughout Carmel, Carmel Valley, Monterey, Seaside, and Pebble Beach, California. This year’s schedule features more than 40 events including main concerts, chamber music, free masterclasses, pre-concert talks and Tower Music.

Metropolitan Opera superstar soprano Angel Blue will headline the Friday main concerts performing excerpts from Porgy and Bess along with other operatic treasures. The California native is recognized for her beautiful voice, sparkling personality, and stunning stage presence.

World renowned musicians and vocal soloists returning to the Festival this summer include soprano Mhairi Lawson, mezzo-soprano Meg Bragle, tenor Thomas Cooley, and bass-baritone Dashon Burton.

“The 2020 Carmel Bach Festival will surprise and delight you, presenting concerts of breathtaking beauty and stunning variety!” said Paul Goodwin, artistic director and principal conductor.

Highlights of the 2020 Festival include:

  • Bach’s jubilant Magnificat and Rossini’s grand Stabat Mater on Saturday night. “Our Saturday concerts take the listener on a journey from the rhythmic energy and vocal punch of Bach’s Magnificat to the extraordinary operatic vistas of Rossini’s greatest choral work, Stabat Mater,” said Artistic Director Paul Goodwin. “This is a concert of two worlds and two contrasting beauties.” Acclaimed soloist Jonathan Boyd joins the Festival to perform the exciting high tenor solos in the Stabat Mater.
  • We continue presenting Bach’s great works on period instruments with performances of the St. John Passion on Sunday afternoons.  The St. John Passion is considered to be more dramatic and expressive than the St. Matthew Passion. Because it is shorter, the narrative of the St. John Passion is compressed and more intense.
  • Four of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti (Nos. 1, 3, 5, and 6), and two Vivaldi classics for solo violins are presented on the Monday main concerts. The Festival’s Baroque virtuosi are highlighted under the direction of concertmaster Peter Hanson. “This juxtaposition will create a Baroque concert of great energy and creativity in the hands of Peter Hanson and the Festival musicians,” said Paul Goodwin.
  • We showcase the Festival Orchestra on Tuesday nights with performances of Mozart’s iconic Symphony No. 40 in G Minor and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 in G Major. The final movement of the Mahler is the song “The Heavenly Life,” which will be performed by soprano soloist Mhairi Lawson. “This program juxtaposes Mozart’s most dramatic symphony with a child’s view of heaven in Mahler’s 4th,” said Paul Goodwin.
  • James MacMillan’s masterpiece, the Seven Last Words from the Cross will be performed in the Wednesday night performances at the Carmel Mission Basilica.  Interwoven with the Seven Last Words from the Cross are works by Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Alberto Ginastera, and Randall Thompson. “James MacMillan is one of the most eloquent and profound composers of our time,” said Associate Conductor Andrew Megill. “MacMillan’s cantata is grounded in the composer’s own personal faith, but transcends any specific theology to communicate universal truths of human experience.”
  • Edwin Huizinga, violin and William Coulter, guitar, ( Fire & Grace), return after a three-year run of wildly popular, sold-out concerts. The duo is joined on Thursday evenings by Spanish guest artists along with Festival vocalists and instrumentalists. Fire & Grace continue the tradition of performing a unique blend of Baroque and Folk music. The Spirit of Spain is a journey into the music, song and dance traditions from the Iberian Peninsula. “Spanish music has always held a special place in my heart. The language is filled with romance, and is considered the language of love,” said violinist Edwin Huizinga
  • Soprano Angel Blue headlines the Friday Main Concerts. Angel Blue starred in the Met’s Porgy and Bess last season, and will perform excerpts from Gershwin’s operatic treasure, including a duet with bass-baritone soloist Dashon Burton. Excerpts from the Baroque operas Dido and Aeneas and Serse open the wide-ranging concert. Mozart’s Ave verum corpus for chorus, and the famous Countess aria from The Marriage of Figaro close the first act.  Concluding the program is a trio of Verdi works – an opera overture, the renowned aria “Di Provenza il Mar” from La Traviata sung by Dashon Burton, and the “Libera me” from the composer’s monumental Requiem.
  • Edwin Huizinga directs the Festival’s new Baroque & Classical Academy.  Four outstanding string musicians (2 violins, viola, cello) will participate in a series of public masterclasses, receive private lessons, chamber music coaching, and mentoring from Festival musicians, be featured in a showcase concert and in outreach events around the community, and perform as members of the Festival Orchestra.
  • Michael Beattie returns as director of the Virginia Best Adams Masterclass, a Festival program training young vocalists. The VBA program selects four singers from hundreds of applications.

The schedule includes six working sessions open free to the general public, and a special Showcase Concert.

  • The schedule presents more than 20 chamber performances including Bach foyer concerts every weekday at the Sunset Center, and concerts presenting a variety of repertoire at All Saints’ Church on Dolores Street, the San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey, the Carmel Mission Basilica, Church of the Wayfarer and the Church in the Forest in Pebble Beach.
  • For the eighth year, a special family concert Saturday, July 25 at 11 AM at Sunset Center featuring the popular The Epic Adventures of Leonard and Rasmus: Road Trip!
  • A Young Artists Competition Showcase July 25 on the main stage of the Sunset Center which presents outstanding student musicians from the Central Coast Section of the California Music Education Association. Young Artists chosen to perform during the Festival will be selected from a competitive audition. Barbara Priest, instrumental music teacher at Pacific Grove Middle School, directs the competition.
  • Discounted ticket prices for students, active and retired military, and children.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on March 1, 2020. Concert tickets range from $10 – $128.